Willie Gay draws rave reviews from his new head coach

The New Orleans Saints sure sound glad to have Willie Gay around this season.
Kansas City Chiefs v New Orleans Saints
Kansas City Chiefs v New Orleans Saints / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints sure sound glad to have Willie Gay around this season.

The very things the Kansas City Chiefs are going to miss on the field after deciding to no longer employ linebacker Willie Gay are the very factors the New Orleans Saints are so excited to add.

While the Chiefs were able to bring back a considerable portion of their free agent core this offseason, especially along the defensive line, one loss to Steve Spagnuolo's unit was the departure of Gay in free agency. The Saints were able to woo him away from Kansas City with a one-year deal worth up to $5 million.

Gay is a fifth-year linebacker who entered the NFL as a former second-round pick with a high ceiling, an upside play out of Mississippi State who profiled as a well-rounded defender if given time and experience.

Four years after he was drafted, Gay now brings two Super Bowl rings to a Saints defense that has been poaching players from the Chiefs for years—from Tyrann Mathieu to Tanoh Kpassagnon to Khalen Saunders. And he's largely grown into that potential to become a three-down linebacker capable of playing in coverage or against the run.

So far, the marks are high from his new head coach, Saints leader Dennis Allen. In a recent press conference, Allen spoke glowingly of his newest defensive addition and lauded what Gay brought to the team.

"There are two things that stand out, really: his enthusiasm and his energy, that stands out to me; and his speed. So I think that those are two characteristics we’re going to lean on."

Allen admits that Gay's assimilation into his defense will take time, but he's excited about the possibilities.

"Obviously coming into a new system, he’s still learning what he’s going to be asked to do, so there’s a little bit of a learning curve with that, but the guy comes in and works his tail off every single day and has a great attitude about playing the game of football. I’m excited about watching him grow and watching him improve."